Arvid Lindblad has been a Red Bull Junior since he was 13. Now, at 16, he’s ready for a rookie F3 season under the noses of the F1 elite. Pressure? Sure, but it’s all about handling it

It’s early morning in Portugal. A 13-year-old English lad, ready for a day of karting, is sitting with his father. The phone rings.

“I remember me and my dad were at breakfast at a hotel near Portimao,” recalls Arvid Lindblad. “I was doing some testing there before the world champs. My dad’s phone was on the table and it rang, and it said ‘Graz, Austria’ on the screen.”

Lindblad Senior walked away to take the call: “When he came back he told me that Helmut wanted us to meet him and have a sitdown about joining the Red Bull programme. F1 that year was racing in Portimao, and because we had the world champs there it worked quite well, so we actually met him on the Sunday morning in the hotel that Red Bull were staying in at the Portuguese Grand Prix. That was where we agreed that I was going to join.”

Three years on, Red Bull chief Helmut Marko has fast-tracked young Lindblad to the FIA Formula 3 Championship, upon which he will embark with Prema Racing in a couple of weeks’ time in the Bahrain opener. It’s just a year and six months since he celebrated his 15th birthday in August 2022 and was able to take his fledgling steps in car racing in some late-season Italian Formula 4 outings.

Ask Lindblad about how he cropped up on Marko’s radar, and he responds: “Even now I still don’t know 100% the ins and outs of it. Helmut is in charge of the cars side and he’s very close with Jos Verstappen, who looks more at the karting. There were quite a few people in the paddock who Jos would talk to, asking, ‘Is there anyone good coming through?’

“My engine builder at the time I had a really good relationship with, and he also had a good relationship with Jos, because he did Max’s engines in karting. Jos asked around the paddock and I guess my name was mentioned a few times, and he passed it on to Helmut and it went like that.”

Linblad impressed Red Bull as a stand-out in karting

Linblad impressed Red Bull as a stand-out in karting

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Nissan Formula E star Oliver Rowland, who acts as a mentor and coach to Lindblad – with a bit of management thrown in – also played a part.

“I’m quite good friends with Max and also Jos,” Rowland explains. “I was always trying to keep them informed of Arvid’s results. I was told that he needed to win something first before anything would come about, and when he did we’d knock on the door again. I was just telling everybody what I thought of him, you know? That in my opinion he needs a chance.


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